Weinig, manufacturer of the Unimat and Powermat series of molders, unveiled its latest molder, the Variomat, at IWF 2008. Company literature describes the machine as the “the only molder in the world that can handle four-sided profiling, and then finish-cut the end of the workpiece.” The basic machine is a four-sided molder, but with the addition of options such as the PowerLock system, the multi-function table, a memory system, and a fifth spindle, the Variomat’s capabilities increase to jobs such as creating raised panel doors, cutting any type of frames, and other types of work.
“Compared to the traditional type of spindles and the tooling clamping, a person would have to take a wrench, release a nut, take spindle spacers off, and then remove a cutterhead and then repeat the opposite to put a new cutterhead on,” says J.R. Powell, profiling product manager for Weinig. “But now with PowerLock tooling, to change from one cutter to the next, the operator just presses one button, it releases the cutterhead from a tool holder and the next cutterhead goes in place, press a button and it locks. It’s very simple and very quick.”
Another key option is the multi-function table, which swings from underneath the machine and gives the operator the ability to work on the end of a board — a unique capability in the world of molders. With the table option, end cuts are not limited to straight cuts as the jig arm will turn at an angle and be able to make angular cuts as well.
“The multi-function table opens up various different abilities for the product end user, meaning any type of cope for door making, any type of tenon work for framing windows that you are able to put tenons together,” Powell explains. “Those end works can be in any kind of frame, whether it is windows, doors and custom entry doors, which is a big market for this as well. So anything with a frame in it where you have to cut the end of the board in order to match male/female cutup, that’s primarily what this is about.”
The Weinig Memory System is another important option that helps save shop production time. The system gives the operator the ability to recall and redo cuts that have previously been made.
“Once you set up and you position everything to make a run for a certain profile width and thickness, you can save it into a profile name that you create, and then when you have to repeat that profile next week, next month or in six months, you pull that name back up and it has all the setting data in there — the width, thickness and tool size. The operator matches those numbers up and then it’s set for position. Or one step further, it can have motorized spindle positioning, which in many terms people call CNC, which allows that spindle to set to that position automatically.”
The Variomat can accommodate a fifth cutter for creating a profile on the bottom of a workpiece. The first bottom cutter acts as a planer providing a straight cut to give a flat place of reference to the board. The second bottom cutter has the ability to do the profiling.
In the end, as with many machines, The Weinig Variomat is about saving time and money while increasing production.
“No one makes money setting up molders. They only make money when they’re running quality products out of the machine,” observes Powell. “So we’re trying to eliminate any setup time possible by tool input, remembering where the profile data is, anything we can do prior to shutting the molder down, so it can be ready to be up and running again. We’re going to do that behind the scenes, if at all possible.”
The 3-phase machine is available with motors ranging from 7-1/2 to 15-hp and is designed as an entry-level molder with the various options suited for small shop applications.
“In many cases, what we’re seeing worldwide is people are buying the machine as a basic five-spindle molder because you can retrofit the multi-function table to it at a later date,” says Powell. “In most countries, they’re looking at it as a way to grow — ‘As my business grows, this machine will grow with me.’ ”
Pricing for the basic machine, which would be used as a four-sided molder, starts at less than $40,000. The price increases depending on what upgrade options the buyer decides to purchase and add to the Variomat.
Contact: Michael Weinig Inc., 124 Crosslake Dr., P.O. Box 3158, Moorseville, NC 28117. Tel: 704-799-0100. www.weinigusa.com
This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue.